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13 - Political Theory of Empire and Imperialism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2012

Sankar Muthu
Affiliation:
University of Chicago
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Summary

This chapter focuses on the question of the relationship, theoretical and historical, of liberalism and empire, itself one of a broader set of questions about how universalisms have dealt with the moral, political, and legal inequalities inherent in empire. Political theory has come slowly and late to the study of empire relative to other disciplines. The newly dynamic field of world history has produced particularly sophisticated accounts of the asymmetrical interactions that brought about global modernity. The study of empire as a theme in the history of political thought was pioneered by a few scholars working with a broadly Cambridge School approach. The possibilities, limits, and pathologies of liberalism preoccupy the distinct political theory literature that has taken up the expropriation and subjugation of indigenous people in settler societies. One of the most influential recent contributions of postcolonial thought has been the notion of alternative modernities.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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